Whether a person is looking to hire a graphic designer or interested in becoming one, the subject of if graphic design pays well is bound to come up in the process. The idea of making art for a living sounds like a fun and exciting career. However, how does it pay? Is it a lucrative career? The wages earned by graphic designers can depend on several factors. Get the facts here on graphics designers and their wage potential.
Related resource: 10 Best Online Schools for Graphic Design
Factors Affecting Graphic Designers
Several factors can and will determine how well a graphic designer is paid. These include:
• Degree or Education Level – Individuals with degrees often see the highest wages because they’ve had the most training and are usually current with the latest graphic design software, designs, and trends.
• Work Experience – The more work experience a graphic designer has, the higher the wage potential because there will be less on-the-job training needed.
• Employer – Every employer pays his or her graphic designers a different wage. A small business owner generally pays less than a large corporation, although this is to always the case.
• Location – Geographic location can play an important role in wage potential. Higher wages are generally paid in larger cities. Certain states will also pay higher wages than other states.
How Important is Work Experience?
Work experience is extremely important when determining wages for a graphic designer. An individual straight out of college seeking his first job will usually be hired for an entry-level position and will be paid entry-level wages. U.S. News & World Report indicates that one-fifth of all graphic designers are self-employed workers.
This may or may not work in their favor in terms of how much work experience the graphic designer has or how much can be used on a resume. Graphic designers who are self-employed may earn higher wages than if they worked for an organization because they can name their wage.
Wages in Different Locations
Here are the five top-paying states for graphic designers with both the average annual and hour wage as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in May 2018.
• District of Columbia – $71,180 – $34.22
• New York – $64,840 – $31.17
• Massachusetts – $64,010 – $30.77
• California – $61,100 – $29.37
• Connecticut – $60,700 – $29.18
Here are the five lowest-paying states for graphic designers with both the average annual and hourly wage. As is evident by the figures, geographic location plays a huge role in wage potential.
• Puerto Rico – $27,540 – $13.24
• South Dakota – $36,300 – $17.45
• Wyoming – $38,490 – $18.51
• Oklahoma – $40,710 – $19.57
• Arkansas – $42,250 – $20.31
Career Outlook & Its Effect on Wages
The career outlook for graphic designers can also affect wages. If a worker is highly in demand, the wages are typically going to be higher. The BLS predicts that graphic designers overall would see only a 4 percent job growth during the decade of 2016-2026. Graphic designers working in computer systems design systems, however, should see a growth of 20 percent. This higher job growth puts graphic designers higher in demand and can mean higher wages.
Whether graphic designers are experiencing rapid job growth or a slower-than-average growth, it’s a career that offers individuals the opportunity to not just share their talents but also build beautiful designs and illustrations. The fact that graphic design has the potential to pay well makes it an even more attractive career choice.